Saturday, August 30, 2008

Born Into Brothels

We watched Born Into Brothels tonight. I saw this movie a while ago and loved it and wanted Patty to see it. It is a documentary about a group of kids who live in the red-light district of Kolkata, India. Many of them have mothers (and grandmothers) who are prostitutes. Some of them don't even have parents. They are given cameras and taught how to take pictures.

This is one of my favorite films. It is such a touching movie. The stories of these kids range from inspiring to heart-breaking. If you see this movie (which I highly recommend that you do), you must see the extras (including the "reconnect" and childrens' commentary segments). These additions add so much to the movie.

Kids with Cameras

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Radio Milano

We met up w/ D. for dinner last Saturday at Radio Milano. None of us had been there before. The dining room is nice - somewhat similar to sister restaurant Chelsea's Kitchen, although a bit "warmer" and more intimate. We arrived at 6:10pm and were seated immediately. By the time we left, the dining room was packed and there were many people waiting for tables. I thought the dining room was a bit noisy.

Here are two pics:
Radio Milano - interiorRadio Milano - interior
Our server brought out a basket of radio bread. I liked the bread - it seemed like a seasoned and flatter version of the sourdough crust on the pizzas at La Grande Orange (another sister restaurant).

We ordered the following:
  • antipasti vegetable plate w/ burrata ($12)
  • crisped acqua pazza white fish (halibut), sautéed spinach ($17)
  • gino’s spicy shrimp pasta w/ toasted almond pesto ($15)
  • tuscan wild mushroom meatloaf au jus ($15)
All drinks are 1/2 price from 5-7pm daily. Each of us had a drink.

The antipasto plate was good, although with the exception of the white nectarines, nothing really stood out for us. Too bad none of us are olive fans...we each ate one and left the rest. For reference, Pizzeria Bianco's antipasto plate is excellent.
Radio Milano - antipasto plate
I ordered the fish entree. Overall, the dish was good. The halibut fillet was nicely browned and seasoned, but slightly overcooked.
Radio Milano - crisped acqua pazza white fish, sautéed spinach
Patty had the pasta dish. I thought this was the best dish of the three. It was full of flavor - creamy, yet not heavy. The shrimp were slightly overcooked.
Radio Milano - gino’s spicy shrimp pasta w/ toasted almond pesto
I had a few bites of D's meatloaf and thought it was pretty good. No pic.

For dessert, we shared the olive oil cake w/ housemade jam & thickened cream ($7). This dessert was just ok for me. The cake was very dense. It was like a slightly-better-than-average fruitcake. Here's a pic:
Radio Milano - olive oil cake w/ housemade jam & thickened cream
Radio Milano is a nice neighborhood restaurant. I don't think I would drive out of my way to eat here, although it would be a good place to meetup w/ friends...

The food is pretty solid and reasonably priced. I would put it on par with North and Chelsea's Kitchen.

Places mentioned:

Radio Milano
3950 E. Campbell
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shall We Dansu? (Shall We Dance?)

We watched Shall We Dansu? (Shall We Dance?) yesterday. This is the movie that inspired the 2004 remake w/ Richard Gere and J. Lo.

The movie was so funny. I had a smile on my face nearly the entire movie. The cast is fantastic - I especially liked Mr. Aoki and Mr. Tanaka...these two characters were hilarious).

Loved it. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

IOC orders investigation into He Kexin's age (from Yahoo! Sports)

The latest...
IOC orders investigation into He Kexin's age (from Yahoo! Sports)

Yay! I guess the IOC finally gave in to pressure!!!

I'm sure Bela Karolyi must be happy. =) (he was constantly commenting about the ages of the Chinese gymnasts)

If He ends up losing her medal, it will be another embarrassment for the Chinese government.

From the article (highlights are mine):
  • "Officials wanted the Olympics to be a coming out party for a new China. But while the Games have been a huge success, there is a legitimate possibility that China's legacy from Beijing '08 will be that of a massive government cover-up, not the magical Opening Ceremony or the transformation of Beijing or anything else positive."
  • "All the good work China did to put on these Olympics could be forgotten because of an unnecessary, arrogant move by the government."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

La Piazza al Forno

For dinner tonight, Patty and I tried La Piazza al Forno. We ordered a 14" Goodfella (margherita - tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella - $11) and added sausage as a topping ($2). The pizzas here are pretty straight-forward and traditional (total of 6 on the menu w/ 25 toppings available).

Our pizza was very good. I thought the tomato sauce was a tiny bit too sweet, but Patty thought it was fine. The sausage was flavorful and I liked that the pizza wasn't too oily.

It seems like a nice, friendly neighborhood pizza joint. If we lived here or were in the area, we'd probably stop by again. While we both liked the pizza, we wouldn't go out of our way for it (unlike LGO, Pizza a Metro, Pizzeria Bianco, and Cibo). I'd put it on about the same level as Grimaldi's.

Seftel: La Piazza al Forno and Pizza a Metro (from

Places mentioned:

La Piazza al Forno
5803 W. Glendale Ave
Glendale, Az 85301

Monday, August 18, 2008

American Gangster

We watched the unrated/uncut edition of American Gangster last night. We both loved the movie. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe both give fantastic performances. The movie was almost three hours long (174 minutes) but it didn't seem that long at all.

The Return of Superfly (New York Magazine article about Frank Lucas)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Patty is back!

Patty came back home last Monday night.

Here was her first meal back in the States:
In-N-Out - AvondaleIn-N-Out - two burgers and an order of fries
While we were waiting for Patty's luggage at the airport, I asked her what she wanted to eat and she suggested In-N-Out. That's exactly what I wanted as well!

I took Thursday and Friday off this week. We've been pretty much glued to the TV watching the Olympics every day.

For lunch on Friday, we went to Sakana Sushi (Glendale location). We've been going to Sakana for years. They have consistent food and are very generous with their slices of fish (the slices of fish for nigiri and sashimi are maybe 50% larger than most places).

We ordered an Agedashi Tofu ($4.99) and Sakana Special (served w/ miso soup and salad; $9.99). We added fried rice to the lunch for an additional $1.99. The soup and salad came out first, followed by the fried rice. The fried rice wasn't so good - kind of tasteless and mushy.

Next up was the Agedashi Tofu. This item was good although I prefer Kampai's version.

After a few minutes wait, the sushi came out. Here's a pic:
Sakana - Sakana Special
See the monster-sized slices of fish?!? This is nice because we can actually share one piece of nigiri (w/ each of us having one bite).

We were sooooo stuffed after this lunch!

This morning, I had my monthly Washington Street Foundation event. This month's event was our annual community service activity at St. Mary's Food Bank (St. Mary's is the world's first food bank - opening in 1967). We boxed up "Emergency Food Boxes", which are distributed free of charge to those in need. Here are some pics:
St. Mary's Food BankSt. Mary's Food Bank
For dinner tonight, we went to Davang - one of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants. We ordered the following:
  • spring rolls (two for ~$2.75)
  • lemongrass chicken (~$6.95)
  • salt and pepper shrimp (~$6.95)
Here are the pics:
Davang - spring rollsDavang - lemongrass chickenDavang - salt and pepper shrimp
The spring rolls were good. The rice paper wrappers on them were still warm, meaning they were freshly made.

The lemongrass chicken was good, although I prefer Little's Saigon's version of this dish.

The salt and pepper shrimp was fantastic! I counted 15 large head-on shrimp. A serious bargain for only $6.95.

Including tax, our meal came out to only $16.75! (and we had leftovers)

Places mentioned:

various locations

20250 N. 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85308

Davang Coffee Shop
4538 N 19th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85015

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Faking Their Way to a Perfect Olympics (from

Article about the CG fireworks and lip-synching (using another girl's voice) during the opening ceremonies...
Faking Their Way to a Perfect Olympics (from

From the article:
"She was lip synching for another little girl who was deemed -- for the good of the country -- not cute enough for China's national image."

Related articles:
Beijing enhanced Olympics show with faked 'fireworks' (from

Olympic opening uses girl's voice, not face (from Yahoo! News/AP)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oympics Opening Ceremony pics and videos

In case you missed it...

pictures (from the Boston Globe/
more pictures (from
amazing images...

Little girl sings at opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics (from - cute girl! (update on 8/12: too bad it wasn't her singing!!!)

Yao Ming and boy from quake zone lead Team China into opening ceremony (from - brave 9 year-old!

5 min highlight video (from

52 min highlight video (from

Friday, August 8, 2008


If you missed the Olympics opening ceremonies, you missed an absolutely incredible show!

Kudos to director Zhang Yimou...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lunch @ Pho Avina

Had lunch at Pho Avina yesterday w/ a few of my co-workers.

I had a grilled pork banh mi ($3.50) and a "Three Color Sweet Beans" dessert (red beans, mung beans, and agar jelly with coconut milk; $2.99). Here are the pics:
Pho Avina - grilled pork banh miPho Avina - Three Color Sweet Beans
Both were excellent! I love the banh mi at Pho Avina. The bread is great (~9 inch baguette), the veggies are fresh (daikon, carrots, cilantro, and jalapenos), and the meat is full of flavor.

Previous posts about Pho Avina: 1, 2

Places mentioned:

Pho Avina
4920 W. Thunderbird Rd, Suite 110
Glendale, AZ 85306

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two links to share

Two interesting links to share (via

Room With a View: A photo diary of Beijing's Air

Passing the Torch: An Evolution of Form
(from the New York Times)
make sure you hover over the graphic - very nicely done!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spotlight on Beijing (only two and a half days to go!)

First the reports that China is censoring media internet access... (even though they promised unrestricted access)

followed by many stories about terrible air quality (even after the government has spent over $17 billion to clean up the air)'s news about members of the U.S. cycling team arriving in China wearing face masks:
U.S. Cyclists Are Masked, and Criticism Is Not (from the New York Times)

and now this latest news:
China revokes visa of gold medalist, Darfur activist Cheek (from Yahoo!)

Only in Phoenix...

Rain halts Sky Harbor landings, takeoffs (from

Phoenix's airport has been closed a few times due to excessive heat...but rain?!?
I was in the area when the closure was announced and didn't notice any severe rain.

Monday, August 4, 2008

National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth: Plastic Plague

Another interesting (and equally frightening) video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:
Any parents with young babies, soon-to-be parents, and sometime-in-the-future parents definitely need to watch this...

Thanks to the anonymous person who sent this!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Interesting video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a "massive stew of unwanted waste" estimated to be twice the size of Texas, floating in Pacific Ocean...